GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 27: Cornerback Greg Toler #28 of the Arizona Cardinals lays on the field after a knee injury during the preseason NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals, after losing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb trade, were planning on relying heavily on Greg Toler last season. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition. Toler tore his ACL last preseason and did not touch the football field all season long because of it.
Less than a year later, Toler is back. Only, this time, he will need to prove himself in order to gain his starting role back alongside the young superstar, Patrick Peterson. According to Darren Urban from AZCardinals.com, he plans on doing just that.
Now that OTAs have begun, Toler played actual football for the first time since last August. Urban noted that he did look shaky at times in his first stint back, getting burnt by wide receiver Andre Roberts on a deep ball. But then there were other times that Toler flashed the talent that we have all seen before, breaking up passes and staying stride for stride with the opposing receivers.
But for Toler, it isn't all about keeping up with the opponent. To him, it is more about overcoming his own obstacles and blocking out the fear that the injury could reoccur. He told reporters that, "I just got to get back into it mentally."
That has been a force that has hampered many players of all professional sports in the past. Having even a shred of doubt in the back of your mind will not only cause worry, but it will undoubtedly impact your production as well. After signing a one-year tender offer, Toler needs to show that he can rise above the mental pressures to remind everyone of why he was a starter at one time and why he deserves his old job back.
Teammate Andre Roberts thinks, "he's looking pretty good out there. I'm not going to tell him that yet, but he's looking pretty good out there."
Hopefully Roberts is right. We would all like to see a healthy Toler back and ready to go from where he left off.